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Being Known in the Digital Age

In some senses, I am envious of some of the great writers in our history. The ones pre-internet (despite the obvious drawbacks of things like the plague, discriminatory racism and violent misogyny) who were able to simply put out their work and that was enough: their work was good enough to be known, all by itself.

The strangest part of being alive during such a digital age and being such an innately private person when it comes to my authentic self, is that to make relationships with people that span beyond your city, your circle, your immediate family, you must put yourself out there for the world to see. And this includes sharing your thoughts, beyond a kitschy Instagram caption or a picture of your cat on a rug (though those have their merit as well).

So here I am- writing a blog post, about nothing in particular, but, let’s say, it’s about myself. I could tell you a smattering of things that begin to build a picture, for instance: I find pants moderately unbearable, I love the smell of rain- every time it storms, I imagine running out in the middle of it, I am inherently nocturnal and stay up until dawn nearly every night, but that still wouldn’t tell you why you should particularly care about my voice in a sea of millions.

I could also tell you slightly more intimate details, that not everyone would know: I will not eat anything with coconut in it, I spent my first years in the double digits working on a novel where my ten year old self was seventeen, I’m too lazy to wear shoes with laces, I only drink coffee with sugar in it.

And perhaps you would think that these are irrelevant, boring facts but everyone is made up of these facts to create something grand and incomprehensible from a distance: a stained glass window, each piece of coloured glass a mural of love that the hand put into it.

It is a very simple thing when you stand back; I am a writer, and all I have ever wanted to do is write. This reality, with its monotony and it’s grey-ness and lack of magic, triumph, and wonder has always seemed so lacking to me. Rebellion is met with subtle oppression, deviation from the norm is being gently re-trained with a system akin to a waist trainer- no immediate results, but eventually, you’re squashed into shape.

Everything is a slow sort of control, and even as a small child, I wanted more than just pavement and walls, but they wouldn’t let me out of my desk long enough to go find it. So instead, I began to write stories. About dragons, and girls unfit to be queens and queens unfit to be warriors, and so on. Like many others, I lost focus, lost organization as things like neurodivergence got in the way. Later, much later, after more mistakes than not, I was breaking myself free of the systems and was finally able to to finish my first full-length, speculative epic.

City of Immortal Shadows.

It took me one year, ten months, and seventeen days to finish it. And when I did, I felt like I had spoke in a way that could be understood for the first time in my life.

Stories are more than just the fabricated tales of the wishful and the dreamers. For some writers, it is the composite of all the feelings that exist without a proper word for: more than yearning, it is an ache to express the complexity of having so many different people living inside of you, waiting for their stories to be told. Valencia is the first of many, and I cannot wait to share these facets of myself with all of you.

What I am saying is, in long form, hello, and welcome to my stained glass window.

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